Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676



The present article focuses on semantic-pragmatic and sociolinguistic factors explaining the use of non-French words and constructions in the exolingual communicative context of French exams. On the basis of an oral and written exam corpus, this article looks into different types of cross-linguistic interactions to question the boundaries of codeswitching (CS) and propose a prototypical approach. Special attention is given to the correlations between the embedded languages (in this case, English or Dutch) and the type of influence these languages have on the participants’ French discourse. By taking into account the distribution of cross-linguistic interactions in the discourse of different groups of participants divided according to the levels of the European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR 2001), this study shows that, even if lower level participants resort to other languages to compensate for lexical deficiencies in French, they also choose to resort to non-French lexemes due to semantic and sociolinguistic factors, as is the case for advanced level speakers. From the perspective of language assessment, the notion of lexical error is central. Based on a typology of embedded units, this study aims at identifying the factors of acceptability of different types of transcodic marks.

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